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Haunted and hallowed buildings ready for Sydney Open visitors

Museum, art gallery or offices? Actually it's all three at a new building at the University of Sydney, one one of some 80 buildings across the city, new and old, haunting and hallowed, that will throw open its doors for the Sydney Open weekend at the start of November.

Exhibits on show in the new administration building at the University of Sydney ahead of Sydney Open.

Exhibits on show in the new administration building at the University of Sydney ahead of Sydney Open.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

The rather unromantically named F23 Administration Building at Sydney University invites the public to come and experience first hand the achievements of well-regarded architects Grimshaw. There is art, museum items, mysterious scientific apparatus including a heliostat, leather-bound tomes of the Sydney University Calendar from 1860 and the ultra-modern lifts with glass on all four sides.

Andrew Cortese, managing partner at Grimshaw, explains the thinking. "F23 incarnates Burley Griffith and Leslie Wilkinson's intention for Eastern Avenue, a park boulevard of pure sandstone, aligned with an ensemble of functionary buildings emerging from an undulating landscape, giving address and prospect over Victoria Park and a distinctive visual prominence to the city."

That means it fits in nicely with its surroundings.

AdvertisementA gallery in the new F23 Administration Building at Sydney University.

A gallery in the new F23 Administration Building at Sydney University.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

Importantly the client likes it. University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and principal, Dr Michael Spence AC said: "The F23 Administration building is a tremendous new space in which to work. Its layout, featuring a large central atrium, glass facades and plenty of natural light, makes it a beautiful place in which to meet and connect."

Exhibits on show in the new administration building at the University of Sydney ahead of Sydney Open.

Exhibits on show in the new administration building at the University of Sydney ahead of Sydney Open. Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

Tickets for Sydney Open featuring many additional buildings in its repertoire to delight the casual visitor go on sale at 10 am on Monday. This year the weekend program can be accessed through the Sydney Open pass on Sunday November 3 and the more in-depth focus tours on Saturday November 2.

“These are hugely successful weekends which typically attract thousands of visitors to thecity,” said Adam Lindsay, executive director, Sydney Living Museums.

John Lamberton's Lepidoptera collected for pleasure while he worked as a CSIRO organic chemist.

John Lamberton's Lepidoptera collected for pleasure while he worked as a CSIRO organic chemist.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

Some new highlights mean you can step inside the historic Castlereagh Boutique Hotel & Masonic Club, once the tallest building in the city, and discover original features including secret stone mason symbols.

A sure bet is the chance to explore the City Tattersalls Club including the hidden bank vault with safety deposit boxes that have remained unopened for decades.

Then trace the progressive tea blending and packaging methods on display in the seven story Bushells Building with its original packing slide, lift shafts and timber structure incorporated into a modern office space of Havas.

Step inside the Victorian Free Gothic style Genesian Theatre at St John’s Church boasting a series of early stained glass panels and enjoy a backstage tour with the theatre historian and archivist.

Many of the usual attractions are included in Sydney Open giving the opportunity to walk through tunnels, scale towers or encounter the occasional ghost.

The full program will be announced on Thursday, September 19.

Information and tickets visit: slm.is/open

Tim Barlass is a Senior Writer for The Sydney Morning Herald

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